3 Ways to Build a Happy Marriage

One of my values is learning, I am committed learner and love to find out all the latest information on the things that I am passionate about. Relationships have been one of my main areas of focus in my Port Macquarie Counselling practice.

With my value of learning in mind, I am often to be found looking at the latest talks and training online. I think we are so lucky to have access to very skilled minds sharing their information via TED talks, via blogs and other internet sources. Today I discovered Dr Blair West. After listening to his TED talk on ways to build a happy marriage, I looked up his website and discovered the quote below...

"...as authors of our life we need to re-visit what we need to fix within ourselves, but not always …

In your relationship, how much fun and enjoyment are you having? We know that the biggest difference between broken relationships and great ones is not the amount of negative interactions – the frequency is almost the same (although in great relationships it is de-escalated earlier). No, the difference is the amount of fun being had. click here to visit Dr Blair West's blog and read more

Choosing to marry and share your life with someone is one of the most important decisions you can make in life. But with divorce rates approaching fifty percent in some parts of the world, it's clear we could use some help picking a partner. In an actionable, eye-opening talk, psychiatrist George Blair-West shares three keys to preventing divorce -- and spotting potential problems while you're still dating.

Tips for a healthier mind... how to focus on 'what's right'.

Thank you for visiting today. Well I have a couple of offerings for you to watch... one of them is a fabulous video by Dr Daniel Amen being interviewed by Tom Bilyeu. There are some great tips for how we can all have a healthier mind, and how to start focussing on 'what's right'. Dr Amen is a double board certified psychiatrist.

Our brains have a habit of looking for 'what's wrong'. They do that to try to keep us safe. They continually scan our environment in case we are in danger. Most of the time though we aren't and we can be missing lot's of the things that are actually really lovely in our lives.

Lots of wonderful things covered in the talk above. I first watched Dr Amen in this TED talk...

For a free brain assessment with Dr Daniel Amen's clinic visit: Brain Health Assessment

An invitation to visit Nature today and create.

A creative exercise I discovered, and my result above. This challenge, and the gorgeous videos below are from a site called Healing Forest - the link is below. I hope it inspires you to visit a place in nature and create.

Art can be healing, just like nature. When we create art in nature, we are connecting to something deep within ourselves. That which is the source of all ideas, inspiration and insight. It gives us new eyes to see with, new ears to hear with and a new understanding.

“An understanding that we can create art out of anything, including our life.”


A silent walk in nature to appreciate and create forest art. Over the course of many months and trials, we have come up with a captivating format for an art walk in nature. It is a creative way to engage with the forest and is enjoyable for all age groups. Here’s a simple introduction to the concept.

Walk in the forest. Find interesting things. Create art. First as a group. Then in pairs. And finally on your own.

1: Don’t damage the forest. Use what’s fallen or about to fall.
2: Take only pictures. Let everything you create, return back to nature.
3: Leave no trace. Spread your artwork in nature before you leave.

Find the rest of this exercise, and much more inspiration at: HealingForest.org

LET Go a film to find calm by Nitlin Das

by Nitlin Das

Let go the darkness,
Let go the night.
Clear a little space,
Let in the light.

Let go your loss
Let go your pain.
Dark clouds pass,
So will the rain.

Let go your anger
Let go your hate.
Escape the prison,
Unlock the gate.

Let go the hurt
Let go the regret,
Peace flows when you
forgive and forget

Let go your fears
Let go your tears
Add a little life,
to these fleeting years.

When you are feeling low,
Just remember
Nothing lasts forever

Let go

2018 Anniversaries and Christmas

My mum passed away last year on the 10th December. After her passing, I was busy getting everything done for her estate. Organising the final goodbyes with a funeral and all that goes with it. Life was busy last year with people visiting, and while it was sad to have lost her, grief didn't really set in then.

At first after a loss, shock sets in, and that shock helps cushion us from the deep feelings that are associated with grief. However, at some point those deep feelings will emerge. For some it comes straight away for others the feelings surface later on. There are no hard and fast rules for grief.

For me, just over half way through this year, grief set in. Grief can be so overwhelming, and hard for others to understand. I'm normally on the listening side of the counselling process. However, what I found in looking for someone to talk to myself, is that it is actually really really difficult, to find someone who is comfortable with simply listening to deep grief, and to be able to sit with lots of tears.

There is a rather wonderful talk that I came across today with Petrea King talking to Mia Freedman. I was feeling confused as to why this year, more than last, that lots of tears have been emerging. In the talk, I heard Petrea mention how sometimes it can be the second year after a loss, that you may be feeling the loss more deeply than the first year. That was so reassuring for me to hear.

In case you are going through grief this season, or know someone else who is, you may find this talk will be very beneficial. Grief is the feeling we have in response to loss. It happens not just when someone dies, it also happens, through divorce, separation, financial loss, health issues, and when you lose a pet. I hope this talk gives you some comfort as well.

The Empty Chair at The Christmas Table - Petrea King

Christmas is often referred to as the most wonderful time of the year. It’s a day that's meant to be filled with joy and love. But what if you're not feeling joyful because you're missing a loved one or you're dealing with the end of a significant relationship? How do you face the empty chair at the Christmas table?

Petrea King is one of the most respected grief counselors in the country. She’s counseled over 120,000 people living with cancer and other life-challenging illnesses as well as people dealing with grief, loss, trauma, and tragedy through her foundation, Quest For Life.

She knows what’s it’s like to be facing Christmas with a death, diagnosis or divorce looming after she lost her brother to suicide, and received her own diagnosis of a rare form of leukemia.

So what's her advice on how to navigate Christmas when you're not feeling joyful?

To listen to the podcast with Petrea King talking with Mia Freedman - Click Here or under the image below (BTW the arrow in the purple circle won't work)...

https://omny.fm/shows/no-filter/the-empty-chair-at-the-christmas-table - Click Here

BUT... I would BUT... I'd like to BUT... I love you BUT...

Communication can create conflict or bring people together. We can see it happening every day and it doesn't matter what language is being used. For effective communications, here is a tip to help you build bridges instead of walls when you interact with others.

Words are very powerful, so powerful, that we attach emotions to them almost immediately after hearing them. Because of this, certain things we say create conflict and resistance. However, if we become aware of the effect of these words and know which words to use instead, we can communicate more smoothly with others and still get our points across. This creates greater agreement and far less hostility along the way.

For example, the word "but" can be a problem. Whenever you hear "but" in a sentence, you know that you should discount what came before it and pay attention to what comes after. If you hear, "That's true, but..." you know what's coming next, right? You are going to hear why it's not true or why it's irrelevant. Or if you hear, "That's an interesting idea, but..." you know that you are about to be told why it won't work. (You may substitute "however" for "but" and get the same reaction.)

Supposing that instead, someone said to you, "What you say is true and here's something that's also true..." Feels a lot better, doesn't it? Or if they said, "That's an interesting idea, and you could also look at it this way...."

By using the word "and" instead of "but," their ideas are linked to yours (or your ideas linked to theirs) instead of being put in opposition to each other. The difference between "but" and "and" is a lot like the difference between boxing, which uses brute opposition to defeat an opponent, and Aikido, which joins with and redirects an opponent's energy in a way which is better for both of you.

Yes, there are some folks who purposely use specific words to engender conflict, and sometimes fear. These people don't want constructive communications. You, on the other hand, will be more persuasive and create less conflict and resistance if you avoid "but" and strive for greater understanding and agreement, instead.

Reposting information from: The Winners Circle at The Pacific Institute


Whenever you find yourself making a complaint to another person, stop and ask yourself, "What is the request behind my complaint?" What is it that you would like to be different about the situation?

After yoga today - incidentally, our yoga room over looks the view above - we were having our morning tea and chatting, and our teacher told us of a book she had been reading called 'A Complaint Free World'. Well as the subject happened to come up, I think we must have all been moaning a lot about the heat, and whatever else. ANYWAY... she explained about the book and how there is a 21 day challenge to go complaint free. That instigated a round table discussion how we all agreed that there were a lot of things we regularly complained about.

If you'd like your life to change, your relationships to get better, your family to thrive, start to hold back on the criticism, the complaining. John Gottman, one of the top marriage therapists says that, beneath every complaint is a deep longing. What is your longing, how can you reframe the complaint into a positive request?

What if we were all to change our mindset around Complaining. What? How? Well what if we changed our reactions and started to bring some curiosity to the person complaining? Don't get me wrong, I haven't been able to do this all along either. But when we can bring an attitude of curiosity to the other person, we can really make headway in relationships. You see our brains are wired for judgement and comparing. Sometimes just allowing the other person to have their voice heard, can bring about a positive change. AND, by listening to complaints we can actually work towards fulfilling the longings that the complaints were masking.

The challenge: Go 21 days in a row without complaining. Why? Because scientists believe that repeating the same behavior for 21 consecutive days can make it a habit. The average person takes 4 – 8 months to complete the 21-Day challenge. But stick with it! Just remember, you can’t complain your way to health, happiness, and success.

There is a bracelet that goes with the challenge. The idea is to put on the bracelet, and that starts you on day one. Then each time you complain, you change the bracelet to the other wrist and you go back to day one. The bracelet serves as a physical reminder that you are taking part in 21 day no complaining challenge. If you don't complain, you move to day 2 and, the bracelet stays on the same wrist. See how long it takes you to move through the 21 days.

I have a few of the bracelets that I can send out, if you are interested, they are $5 including postage within Australia. Email or phone me if you would like one.

One Minute Mindfulness

Student-led mindfulness practice from Denise Nobile on Vimeo.

A mindfulness process run by sixth graders at Somers Middle School, children taught by Denise Nobile’s practice every day. I invite you to join in, with them, no matter what your age.

A cup of mindfulness

Then, if you'd like to continue with a mindfulness practice, you can start with just one minute, each day, by simply stopping, bringing your focus to the present moment, and taking a few breaths. You don't need a bell as a reminder. You can use anything that is in your present moment. Bring your full attention to what is in front of you. Next time you're at a cafe, stop and notice your coffee cup. Stop and really look, did the barista create a pattern? Notice the cup and the colour, the smell. And then take a few breaths before drinking. Then continue with your day.